The rants and raves of a teenage cinephile who is just a little bit obsessed with Catherine O'Hara and Hayao Miyazaki.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Golden Cornea Awards 2011: The Top 10

And now, the moment for which you all have been waiting so fervently (ahem), my top ten films of the year. As should go without saying, this is my top ten right now - things can change over time. For example, I included "Avatar" at number 5 when I first made my list for last year, but then when I revisited recently it didn't even make the top ten. So! Anyway. Enough babble, on with the list!

10. How to Train Your Dragon

Ever since I first fell in love with this surprising movie when I first saw it, I haven't been able to stop thinking about it. Its story line may be a bit cliche, sure, but it still manages to defy convention nonetheless. It's so sensitive and I fell in love with it despite its imperfections. And that score? It's just so wonderful. And, it's my current ringtone. Hahaha

9. Animal Kingdom

You all should know by now how much I adore Jacki Weaver, but there's more to this film than just her. It's masterfully written, frightening and intense and yet there's this heart to it all - a bizarre, slightly dysfunctional heart, but it's there nonetheless. The performances from the rest of the cast are great and Michod's subtle directorial work leaves you wanting more and more.

8. Dogtooth

I'll freely admit that its off putting subject matter is what's keeping this film from being higher on the list, but there is absolutely no denying how bizarrely brilliant it is. It's fascinatingly shot, with perfectly mysterious performances from the entire cast - and while so many movies force messages with cliches and manipulation "Dogtooth" tackles so many themes and lets the screenplay speak for itself. Shocking, but fascinating.

7. Mother

This movie should have been just another crime drama. Instead, it's a provocative, tense, fascinating and often beautiful portrait of a mother's unyielding love for her son. Bong Joon-Ho plots every frame with so much detail and thought, allowing Kim Hye-Ja to work her wonders.

6. True Grit

From the opening shot to the closing narration, "True Grit" is a surprisingly riveting tale that deals perfectly with the implications of redemption. The Coen Brothers totally turn what could have been an ordinary western into an extraordinary journey told through the eyes of a young fourteen year old girl. Surprisingly funny and extraordinarily grandiose, it's just another amazing movie from the Coens.

5. 127 Hours

Okay, Danny Boyle's sometimes erratic choices may not have always been good choices, but the overall film ends up being such a success that it's possible to overlook the mistakes - and then some. No film affected me as emotionally as "127 Hours" did - James Franco's fantastic performance takes the viewer on such a powerful journey. Inspiring and emotional, the power of this film cannot be understated.

4. Rabbit Hole

"Rabbit Hole" isn't necessarily sad - more like poignant and seeing grief treated in such a way is so refreshing and, ultimately affecting. The myriad of great performances from Kidman, Eckhart, Teller, Weist and Oh enhance the already gorgeous script, which is all put together by the tender hand of John Cameron Mitchell. This film never forces you to feel, it just allows itself to be so real that you can't help but be devastated, and yet, filled with hope.

3. Black Swan

My excitement for this film went down a wee bit since I first saw it (on opening day which is something I will be eternally proud of) but I still adore it so. Watching it was such a thrill ride that after I left the theater I was just speechless. It's scary, it's gorgeous, and it's thought provoking, featuring a career-best performance from Portman...and honestly, everyone else in the cast too. As the woman behind me in the theater put it, "WHAT THE HELLLLL WAS THAT?!", in the good way of course.

2. The Social Network

I'd be hard pressed to find as intelligent a film as "The Social Network" that also has such an emotional core. To quote everybody in the world, it's not about Facebook, it's about friendship. Fincher's direction brilliantly brings together such fantastic technical achievments (the score! the cinematography!) and though this may not win Best Picture tomorrow night, this will be the film that stands the test of time.

1. Scott Pilgrim Vs the World

Okay. It may not be the genius instant-classic that "The Social Network" is, nor is it perhaps the beautiful masterpiece that "Black Swan" is, but I did not fall in lesbians so hard with any film as hard as I fell for "Scott Pilgrim". My nerdier side loved the video game references and the 8-bit soundtrack but my intelligent side adored the perfect acting and creative filmmaking style. Behind all of the amazing visual effects it's still just a story of a rather imperfect relationship and what we all go through to be with the ones we love, and it's just so perfect. I simply couldn't not call it my favorite of the year.

Ah, so there you have it everyone! My favorites. I hope you've all enjoyed the Golden Corneas - what did you think of my choices? Surprised? Angry? Sad? The comment box is like a therapy session - all feelings welcome without judgment so sound off below!


  1. Great assessment of each of these picks!

    I love the style, aesthetic and the humour of SCOTT PILGRIM, but my dislike for both lead characters kept it off my own top ten.

    I also missed out on seeing HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON in theatres, which I think is where a lot of people fell in love with it. As it was, I thought it was only pretty good. You're right about the score though, it's phenomenal.

    I thought RABBIT HOLE was good but not great (I found Nicole Kidman hugely unsympathetic) and I unfortunately haven't seen DOGTOOTH.

    BLACK SWAN, ANIMAL KINGDOM and THE SOCIAL NETWORK all made my own top ten, with the latter coming in at number one. TRUE GRIT and 127 HOURS both only barely missed out.

    Other films that made my own list: INCEPTION, SHUTTER ISLAND, CATFISH, FOUR LIONS, TOY STORY 3, EXIT THROUGH THE GIFT SHOP and PREDATORS (weird choice I know, but I thought it was such a great example of a straight-faced, well made action film). Thoughts on any of these?

  2. Nice list man!
    Am I honestly the only person who truly disliked How To Train Your Dragon? I feel like a total grinch for that.

  3. I never ended up seeing "How to Train Your Dragon" because it just didn't look appealing to me...but after all the hype I'm hearing I feel like I probably need to go watch it.
    "127 Hours" was my favorite of the year and I completely was one of the most powerful movies I've ever seen.
    I can't tell you how relieved I am to see "The King's Speech" missing from your list. I think it's an obscenely overrated film and I was disappointed that so many other deserving pictures lost out this year at the Academy Awards because this one had to go and soak up every award it could get its royal hands on.

  4. Hee, seems like Jose's taking over from me terms of grinchiness.

    YAY, Scott Pilgrim for the win. Each time that film shows up on someone's list I get insaneley happy. (and of course I love those inclusions at #9 and #4 especially, since so few cite them).

    (PS. AVATAR is excellent, and I refuse to believe otherwise.)


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